Trait Versus State : Effects of Dispositional and Situational Compensatory Health Beliefs on High-Calorie Snack Consumption
2014, Radtke, Theda, Inauen, Jennifer, Rennie, Laura, Orbell, Sheina, Scholz, Urte
Compensatory health beliefs (CHBs)–beliefs that an unhealthy behavior can be compensated for by a healthy behavior–can be distinguished into trait and state beliefs. Trait CHBs are stable individual differences, whereas state CHBs are activated in a tempting situation–for example, when faced with an attractive snack. The aim of this study was to test whether diet-specific trait or state CHBs are predictive for an unhealthy behavior–namely, high-calorie snack consumption. A scenario was created in which 66 women aged 16 to 50 were faced with a high-calorie snack. Diet-specific trait and state CHBs correlated moderately with each other. Regression analyses revealed that diet-specific trait CHBs with exercise as the compensatory behavior were significantly predictive for high-calorie snack consumption, over and above control variables such as age, whereas state CHBs were only marginally significant. Diet-specific trait and state CHBs with reduced intake (eat less later) as the compensatory behavior were not related to high-calorie snack consumption. Results showed that trait CHBs are relevant for the prediction of high-calorie snack consumption. Future studies might want to further refine the measurement of CHBs, especially state CHBs.